McCain rips Trump for attacks on press

McCain rips Trump for attacks on press
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE’s combative attitude toward the press and called on Congress to protect journalists worldwide.

“Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy,” McCain said in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.

McCain called the Trump administration’s treatment of journalists “inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst,” particularly when it comes to condemning attacks on the press abroad.

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McCain cited foreign leaders who have adopted the term “fake news,” which is Trump’s preferred moniker for unfavorable press coverage. Foreign leaders using the phrase can make it more difficult for activists abroad to express dissent, McCain argued.

He suggested Congress should take it upon itself to encourage allies to review their policies that ensure freedom of the press, authorize foreign assistance to support independent media outlets and condemn violence against journalists.

“We cannot afford to abdicate America’s long-standing role as defender of human rights and democratic principles throughout the world,” McCain said. 

McCain’s op-ed was published the night before his fellow Arizona Republican, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling MORE, is set to deliver a speech slamming Trump for labeling the media the “enemy of the people.” 

Flake, who is retiring from the Senate when his term expires next January, is expected to compare Trump’s use of the term to Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin’s use of the term, according to excerpts of the speech shared with The Hill.